Saalik A. Ziyad
.. While you may not be aware of the deep, rich and melodic vocals of Chicago native, Saalik A. Ziyad - those who have heard him - know his sound is one you won't forget. Saalik's singing career began at the age of seven when he was accepted as a member of the Chicago Children's Choir. This introduction to music provided him the opportunity to perform with many music greats - including, Charlie Haden the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Amina Claudine Myers and Willie Pickens. While working on his Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance at Northern Illinois University (NIU), Saalik's talents continued to flourish and landed him the position of lead jazz vocalist with the world-renowned Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble, including tours with Hammiet Blueitt, Steve Turre and Rufus Reid. Additionally, the multi-faceted Ziyad has appeared in George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" under the direction of Bobby McFerrin at the Ravinia Music Festival in Illinois and with The Chicago Sinfonietta under the direction of Maestro Paul Freeman. While exploring his continued quest for understanding the creative influence of music at NIU, Saalik formed- "The 5 after 7 Project," - a collaborative of diverse musicians residing in the Chicagoland area. The 5 after 7 Project perfoms thought provoking music from jazz to classical. As a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Saalik has been able to continue to explore various vocal styles and genres of music. This development has led to Saalik's unique style and range in his use of the voice as a creative instrument of sound.